Speak now or hold your reef

Defenders of the coral reefs in Hawai’i’s northwestern islands have a golden

opportunity next Monday to be heard.

In response to President Clinton’s

call for a plan to protect the delicate reef ecosystem around Kaua’i and

elsewhere, federal agencies and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management

Council will host a meeting at Kaua’i Community College to hear what the public

thinks.

And the public should show up and speak its mind. The reefs in this

region are healthy at least partly-and maybe primarily-because of their

relative geographic isolation from the rest of the world. But the globe is

closing in. As tourism and other human influences increase, so does the

likelihood of spoiling the reefs and endangering the marine life they

support.

The way to guard against that ever happening is for the general

public to join government agencies and environmental organizations in a united

approach to reef protection. The time is now to close ranks.

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